Sunday, February 9, 2014

Stereo vision (depth perception) in preschool children - what if my child can't see 3D?

Depth perception in preschool kids by Dr. M.K. Randhawa
One of the easiest ways to diagnose a vision disorder in a very young child is to test his or her stereo acuity or depth perception.  Poor 3D vision is often caused by a vision disorder, some of which may be serious disorders that are best treated in early childhood.  Poor 3D vision may even be the sing of life threatening diseases such as tumours, as in this famous story from Ontario.

A new study published in the journal Optometry & Vision Science examined the a large population of pre-school children and tested their depth perception using the Stereo Smile II test.  The researchers then looked at the association of poor 3D vision with vision disorders.

The study found that children with vision disorders had significantly worse median stereoacuity than that of children without vision disorders. Children with the most severe vision disorders had worse stereoacuity than that of children with milder disorders.

The researchers also found that testability was excellent at all ages of the children included in the study. The results support the validity of the Stereo Smile II for assessing random-dot stereoacuity in preschool children.  The results also point to the need to take children who have poor stereo vision to a developmental optometrist to be evaluated and treated for developmental vision disorders that may be the cause of the poor stereo vision.

For more information visit our 3D vision web page at

Stereo vision, vision therapy and the TED talks

Stereo vision and treatment of depth perception problems with optometric vision therapy has been the subject of TED talk featuring neuroscientist Dr. Susan Barry:

Related articles on children and depth perception

What is 3D Vision Syndrome? 

Don't like 3D movies? You may have 3D Vision Syndrome

Take your kids to see "Thor": doctor's orders!

Life threatening disease found in girls eye - lack of 3D vision was the clue

Fixing My Gaze - Can you imagine not having 3D vision?

TED - ideas worth spreading - Susan Barry on how vision therapy gave her 3D vision


Stereoacuity and Vision Disorders in Preschool Children
Optom Vis Sci 2014 Jan 23;[EPub Ahead of Print], EB Ciner, G-S Ying, MT Kulp, MG Maguire, GE Quinn, E Graham, D Orel-Bixler, LA Cyert, B Moore, J Huang